The Santa Barbara Rescue Mission will hold its annual Christmas Feast from noon to 2 p.m. Monday, Dec. 23.
The Rescue Mission’s staff and a team of volunteers will serve meals to men, women and children in need in its dining hall at 535 E. Yanonali St.
Volunteers will also distribute gift bags to everyone who comes; without this event, many would not have any Christmas presents this year.
Tables will be set up in the parking lot with a selection of gift items so guests will be able to take what they need most. The Mission is in need of donated items such as warm clothing and socks for this purpose.
“For those who are homeless and hungry, the holidays will be the hungriest — and the loneliest — of all seasons … unless we set a place for them at our table," said Rolf Geyling, president of the Santa Barbara Rescue Mission. "Every one of our holiday guests will be offered the help they need to rebuild their lives.”
The Santa Barbara Rescue Mission has served the county and city of Santa Barbara for 48 years, providing emergency services and long-term recovery for the homeless and addicted. With 80 beds for men and 20 for women and children, it is the only emergency shelter that is open 365 nights of the year from Santa Maria to Ventura.
In 2012, the Mission provided 144,196 meals and 66,042 safe nights of shelter for individuals with no place else to turn. Its 12-month residential recovery program aims to bring individuals from decades of addiction, institutionalization, and homelessness back to sobriety, health and wholeness. Certification through the California Department of Alcohol and Drug Programs ensures that participants receive the highest standard of treatment in a non-medical facility. The Rescue Mission receives no government funding.
— Rebecca Weber is the director of communications for the Santa Barbara Rescue Mission.